Women veterans represent a rapidly growing segment of the veteran population. This study examines how the utilization of VA hospitals by women veterans has changed since 1980. Information on the use of VA hospitals was obtained from the discharge database for all VA hospitals. The demographics of the veteran population was compiled from the Veteran Population Files, which contain annual estimates of the number of veterans by age and sex. The VA hospital discharge rate for women increased nearly 29 percent during the 1980's while the VA user rate increased nearly 18.6 percent for women. The increase in the average number of VA stays per user was smaller for women than for men (8.4 percent versus 11 percent). Substantial increases in the utilization of VA hospitals by women veterans occurred during the 1980's. In most cases these increases were larger for women veterans than for men veterans. However, women veterans still use VA hospitals at about one-half the rate for men. Regardless, the VA system will continue to be an important source of health care for women.
ASJC Scopus subject areas